Boehner in the Capitol Rotunda

by Richard Brookhiser

The humble pride Boehner takes in how far he has come and where he now is is one of his most attractive qualities.

The large pictures behind him were commissioned from the artist, John Trumbull (1756-1843). He donated his small originals to Yale at the end of his life as part of a deal: Yale offered him an annuity in return for his paintings. Trumbull in return made the following stipulations: They had to be hung together in a Trumbull gallery; they could never be loaned; he had to be buried beneath his favorite picture — George Washington at the Battle of Trenton (actually, on the eve of the Battle of Princeton). Finally, if any of these conditions were violated, Harvard (his alma mater) would get the paintings. He is indeed buried in the basement of the Yale Art Gallery; I have seen the room where they stored him.

He made the large copies in the Capitol when his powers had begun to wane. The Capitol also got his most static images. For three more dramatic ones, google The Death of General Warren at the Battle of Bunker’s Hill, The Death of General Montgomery in the Attack on Quebec, and The Death of General Mercer at the Battle of Princeton.